Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Benji is the name of a fictitious dog who was the focus of several movies in the 1970s and 1980s. His character was a lovable mutt who had an uncanny knack for being in the right place at the right time, usually helping a person overcome a problem. Perhaps not as dashing as Lassie (another dog movie star), Benji was shown to have been just as smart.
Joe Camp is the creator and director of the Benji films. The first movie, called Benji, was filmed in the Dallas, Texas area and was released in 1974. The most recent Benji movie, was released in 2004, and is also known as Benji Returns: Rags to Riches and Benji Returns: The Promise of Christmas.
The real name of the dog who first played Benji was "Higgins"). Higgins had a role in the TV show Petticoat Junction in the mid 1960s, as did Edgar Buchanan, who also starred in the first movie. Higgins was trained by Frank Inn, who found him in an animal shelter. As with Lassie, Higgins' progeny have replaced him in later movies; dogs do not have forty-year lifespans.
A 1980s TV show titled Here's Boomer featured an acting dog that was a lot like Benji.
Benji in movies and television
- 1974, Benji (feature film)
- 1977, For the Love of Benji (feature film)
- 1978, Benji's Very Own Christmas Story (TV movie)
- 1980, Oh Heavenly Dog (feature film)
- 1980, Benji at Work (TV movie)
- 1981, Benji Takes a Dive at Marineland (TV movie)
- 1983, Benji, Zax and the Alien Prince (TV series)
- 1987, Benji the Hunted (feature film)
- 2004, (feature film)
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